The Princess

Last weekend we headed to Pittsburgh to see the family and try to figure out my father-in-law’s house. The great news is our nephew is going to buy the property and we are all thrilled that we are going to keep it in the family.

The BEST part of the weekend was seeing my nieces baby, Rose. She is a ball of deliciousness and it was lovely being able to hold her and get to know her (even though she’s only 2 mos.!) My niece is doing great and is as calm as a cucumber. Im very proud of her. The only downside was the drive (8 hrs) which was a lot. I did a bunch of errands when we got back and today I was pooped.

The Princess

Yesterday I went to see Dr. Katie and she did acupuncture on me and suggested I try edible marijuana to help with the “zings” of pain that are happening more and more because of the radiation. So now I’m trying to get a medical marijuana card so I can get at the local dispensary. It should be interesting, since I have zero experience with it and have never used it. We’ll see how THAT goes.

I’ve also resigned from my job with Roberts magazine. I realized there’s too many health issues going on, in addition to Gma, and there’s much stress. I need to simplify. Robert was very understanding, and I grateful he took the news so well.

It was a big week, and tomorrow we tackle taxes. Lord help us.

PS: Shout out to Lynn Heisler who keeps sending great words on encouragement which I really appreciate! XO

Valentines Day and MahJong

Yesterday was Valentines Day which is one of my favorite days ever. Thirty five years ago I jumped on top of the husband and said “Ya know, Valentines Day is in 2 years, lets get married then”, thus we were engaged. We worked and saved enough for the wedding in those 2 years and it ended up being a great event. Its been 33 years and I still adore him as much as I did the day we married. He’s my rock, and he’s been unbelievable through this whole health thing. I love that it seems like the whole world celebrates with us, thats there’s hearts and flowers everywhere. Its corny, but I cant help it.

Could we BE any cuter?

Yesterday, I also went to Anns Place (cancer support center) and played MahJong. I first went last week and absolutely LOVED it. Ive been wanting to learn for ages and I latched on as soon as I learned they offered it. Its the most complicated game but so much fun. I think because its visual, I caught on pretty quickly. However, I think that for me to master it will take the rest of my days! There’s tons of rules and strategies (which I haven’t even begun to understand), my whole focus is just trying to get a hand. The ladies in the group are so kind and generous and patient. They make learning fun and its been great getting to know them. I now have a new Friday obsession. I even have been winning a game here and there!

My first winning hand!

Meanwhile, Ive been trying to incorporate more veg in my diet. Im trying, but its not easy. At least Im more aware of what Im doing. Im still using Splenda, which Dr Katy feels is like arsenic. But Im trying to ease off. Im making more new recipes that are veg based. What I really want to do is have a cheeseburger and fries. I may get it soon because we are leaving for Pittsburgh to see our gorgeous great niece (and the rest of the family :). But Pittsburgh generally doesn’t have the best food choices (french fries served on salads) but they’re getting better and I’m sure it will be fine. The most important thing is Ill be able to eat that baby with a spoon. Im so excited to see everyone!

Shrimp & cauliflower, farro with artichokes, ratatouille. Who’s the healthiest?

And it begins

First day of radiation was yesterday. Was in the hospital for around 1.5 hrs because it was the first appointment and I had to lay in this machine while they took more measurements, photos etc. This morning should be much quicker.

Not me

So you’re laying there with your arms up, hands gripping handles and your head in your specific pillow. Breathing…trying not to move. Unlike patient above, I have no top on, but a pillowcase that covers one side for “modesty”. Ha. Every 5 minutes, this thing is sliding off. I can feel it, inch by inch, step by step easing its way to the floor. But I cant get it because I’m in this weird position. Whatever. Meanwhile I lost all remaining modesty long ago when I was trying to breastfeed Phillip in an NYC hospital and the kid next to me from Brooklyn had his whole family waltzing in and out, including pizza delivery. So that boat has sailed long ago.

Then the techs start writing all over me, and Picassos they’re not. This is generally what it looks like and I cant wash them off. I don’t care what you say, Im attractive. No, no, really. I am.

Also not me.

Then after all that, the treatment actually starts. The crazy machine goes around. Resembling Star Trek, its like a weird alien. The treatment feels like nothing, like an X-ray. I have a special cream I have to use daily to prevent a kind of “sunburn”, skin sensitivity. So far so good and am on my way to treatment 2 this morning. This should be a piece of cake and only be about 10 minutes. Only 28 more to go…

Crazy, whirling alien machine

Geaux Saints

This week I made a lot of visits. I visited Anns Place which is a cancer support center in town. They were very nice and have many interesting things like group meetings, reike and even a Mahjong group! I’m definitely going to that! Then I met with Dr. Katy, the integrative medicine doctor. She’s going to try and sort out my diet, and she gave me acupuncture for my back. The next day I booked a massage, which she said was really good to help the acupuncture do its job. Im a genius.

Listening to Dr. Katy, I made myself a giant salad to last a week with chopped broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, edamame, green beans, mushrooms etc. Im determined to eat more veg, but its not easy. Hopefully if I continue to make this, I’ll eat it.

In other news, Phillip George met Keith Richards last night at the bar. He comes in regularly, but Phillip has always missed him. Richards came in with the family and Philip got to make him drinks and was thrilled.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Im watching for the commercials and in my HEAD my team is playing….

Tattooed Lady

Today I went for my mapping session for radiology. It was pretty easy, but lots of information at once. Meetings with therapists, Dr and nurses. Then in the machine for images, and they have these formable pillows that they form to your body and will be used every time to get me in position. Also, I got my tattoos. Im about to share with my niece and nephews what a badass I am, because they are BIG tattoo fans.

Tattoo one of three

Now, don’t be jealous! I know they are fancy tattoos. But as tiny as they are, they bled like 3 tiny mfers. Actual treatments start next Wednesday and continue till the end of March. Now that I know the schedule, I can start to plan the Caribbean getaway for me and Sammy. We’ll really need it by then.

Day with Gma

So the latest debacle is that Gma’s helper, Maria, quit. She quit everyone she was working for because her daughter had a baby and she’s going to babysit. Which is all well and good, but Gma didn’t tell me any of this because she “didn’t want to bother me” except now she has laundry galore etc. I found out from Mary, who is the helpers other client. Also learned the Gma was the most difficult person she’s worked for in 20 years. No kidding.

Yesterday I took her to see the eye doctor. First up was filling out the forms, which through her for a loop, see below:

So Dr goes fine, I’m then taken to breakfast to discuss what is now known as the “Maria Situation” Happily today I asked my cleaner if anyone she know can handle Gma. Just so happens one of her girls, who knows Gma, said she’ll help out. Bless her. We’ll see how long this lasts. Meanwhile, at breakfast she gets 2 pancakes and covers them with butter and tons of syrup. She’s been losing a bit of weight, which has come back, and now we know why…how a woman who’s 111 lbs can eat like this, I don’t know. Those pancakes were drenched! But she was happy.

So Alene starts Monday and fingers crossed, we’ll be back in business. Meanwhile, just thinking of alternatives but so far having her in her apt seems to be ok. Taking each day as it comes…

Radiology 101

Hola! I saw the radiologist last Wednesday and got the general plan I go in next Tuesday and get mapped. This is generally what will happen:

My doctor will precisely identify the area on my body where I will receive radiation. Pictures will be taken of the area that needs to be treated. Those images are sent to the radiation planning computer, which will help set up the general treatment fields (the areas that get the radiation).

Once the treatment fields are set, the radiation oncologist will mark the corners of the fields with small tattoos or a special pen (markings are usually no bigger than the head of a pin or a freckle). The marking is a guide to help the technician line up the radiation treatment fields the same way each time you receive treatment.

Most cancer centers recommend that people have tattoo markings for radiation therapy rather than ink markings, because the ink can fade or wash off. While tattoos can be removed after treatment is over, they are also preferred over ink markings made with a pen because are that they permanently mark the area of the original treatment field in case radiation is needed in the future.

After the simulation is done, the dose of radiation I’ll receive is calculated, and my radiation treatment is designed over the next few days. As of now, we are thinking 5 days a week, 6 weeks. Good times being had by one and all.

I will post after first session, to update. Meanwhile, we saw 1917 today and it was a brilliant movie. Go see it if you can.

The Party’s Over

Well, we dropped Miles off at the airport this morning and we were so sad to see him go. It was great having the family together. One of my favorite parts was all the boys friends coming over and sharing stories about their lives now. I feel lucky because they have great friends, that they’ve known since kindergarten. Now I get to see them all grow and begin their adult lives. I can’t imagine not having them around. Plus, the boys spent time together and it was fun to see them hang out and it makes me happy. Its one of a parents goals is to have your kids become friends as well as siblings and I feel they are on that road.

Good news from Dr.L. The pow wow happened with all the oncologists and it was determined that no chemo is called for, thank god. So this Wednesday I go for my first radiation visit and find out how many sessons I’ll need.

Here is the product of the week: Moosh-Moosh 12” – Large Softest Plush Premium Squishy Pillow Series 1. I had a terrible cold after Christmas and I couldn’t get my neck comfortable while sleeping. I ordered this thing and I LOVE IT. It fits everywhere, wherever I need support. I highly recommend. Plus mine looks like a neon bat. Because, why not?

Am happy to get a regular schedule going. Decorations are put away, house is clean and its a fresh start. Hopefully I can breeze through radiation and get this behind me. On a brighter note, after we drooped Milesy this morning we went to a diner we used to go to all the time when we lived in Yonkers called the Raceway Diner. We had a full irish, plus was chatting with the waitress about all the places wed been to in Ireland. By the time we left I was so satisfied, filled with sausages, puddings and conversation. It was a great morning.

The Holiday

Its New Years Eve and the holidays were nice. On Christmas Eve I delivered romano cheese to Barbara and our whole family ended up at theirs to celebrate. It was really lovely. Our kids have known each other since they were tiny and as they’ve grown, it’s been tougher for them to get together. It was wonderful to see them all together and having fun reconnecting. Everyone had a relaxing, fun time and it was a perfect unplanned Christmas Eve.

Next day was Christmas and despite Gma delaying, as par usual, we had a great Christmas. The boys took over making our traditional Timpano, which was delicious. and we relaxed and just enjoyed being together.

Yesterday we saw Dr. L, who said I was healing nicely. He is part of a team of oncologists, including Dr Winer from Harvard who is one of the world’s experts on breast cancer, who meet via Skype every month. He is putting my case forward Wednesday to get a consensus on next steps. The original plan is to heal, radiation and Ibrance for another 6 months, then Letrozole for 10 years. We are still hoping for no traditional chemo, bc my particular cancer will not respond to it. So, we’ll see what happens. When I meet with the radiation dr Ill know exactly how many sessions Ill need.

Meanwhile, Ive caught a rotten cold and am trying to drug myself up like an addict to make it through tonights celebration. Im grateful I get to celebrate. Our friends are all meeting at a local restaurant where we had our celebration last year.

Here we are. Got home around 11 and was exhausted but was so happy to share the New Year with my peeps. Here’s hoping 2020 is healthier and happier!

The Bubble

It’s Thursday. I just need to write that down because I normally have no idea what day it is. Ive been in my bubble for 4 weeks and I know nothing. I only “escape” from the house has been the doctors office. I say escape, but I don’t mean it. Im loving being home and being able to rest and nap. Im lucky Im able to recover in such a snug place. I’ll know that Im really better when Im anxious to go out and about. Which is not now.

We went to get drain out on Tuesday as scheduled. Hurt a tiny bit but really nothing. The doctor notice a big bruise across my back which was puzzling, but to me anythings possible. By last night it looked better so just some rando side effect. Was able to take shower yesterday, hallelujah. So that made me feel great. Today Im going to take off dressing. Still tender and uncomfortable but yesterday only took 1 percocet all day, and 2 at night so Im getting there.

Meanwhile, the Magnificent Friends have been feeding us like royalty. Its so funny because at the beginning of this Sam was like “I don’t know if we want food from other people, who knows what they’ll bring” Meanwhile, we’ve had spaghetti and sauce, banana bread, almond cake, grilled chicken and veg, Osso bucco, Chicken chili and Beef Bourguignon. He’s realized my friends are the gourmet meal train and is now plotting to see what other catastrophes we can get into to keep the meals coming, lol.

Oh, dear lord, the tv just said its 16 degrees out there. Again, not leaving bubble so everything ok by me. Milesy off in NJ with girlfriend Meg and got a report that Phillip was shaking cocktails like a pro last night, so happy everyones around and I think this will be a great Christmas!